Rachel M. Johnson is a lover of all things pop culture. She's been writing about music and entertainment online for years.
Romance Movie Cliches
Romantic comedies have become a beloved film genre (and guilty pleasure) for many moviegoers. Even the best rom-coms are full of clichés, and many poke fun at just how frequently they re-occur. Let's take a look at the top 10 romantic comedy movie clichés.
1. The Epic Movie Makeover
Cliché: Some of the biggest romantic comedies always have the epic movie makeover, where the seemingly "ugly duckling" transforms into a beautiful swan. Usually, it always happens to an obviously attractive guy/girl, whose looks are played down until they get a magical makeover that suddenly brings their beauty to light. This usually involves simply removing glasses and taking their hair out of a ponytail (because women can't possibly look good with either style), making this cliché one of the biggest and most recurring tropes of rom-coms.
Popular in: She's All That, Working Girl, Clueless, Miss Congeniality, Love Potion No.9, Never Been Kissed, A Cinderella Story
2. The Ex-Factor
Cliché: A lovelorn character uses another person in order to make their ex jealous, and in the process, they not-so-surprisingly fall for the new person. Countless times these films will always feature a fake significant other, someone who is willing to take on the strange role (usually to get something in return for themselves). What ensues is of course a romance between both parties.
Popular In: Drive Me Crazy, A Lot Like Love, Addicted To Love
3. High-Powered Career Woman Has Regrets
Cliché: A high-powered, super successful career woman realizes she's exactly where she wants to be professionally, but along the way, she completely overlooked her personal life. Many times it focuses on a working girl who needs to find a balance in her life in order to not be all-consumed by work, and in the process of this epiphany, she finds her Mr. Right.
Popular In: The Back-Up Plan, Notting Hill, Fever Pitch
4. Just Friends
Cliché: Ah, it can't get much more stereotypical than the guy and girl who claim to be just friends, only to finally realize the right person has been there all along for them. Usually, this plotline involves one of the friends already in a relationship, or pining for someone else and it's not until the end of the movie that they realize their one true love is their best guy or girl friend and was there the whole time.
Popular In: When Harry Met Sally, Made of Honor, Someone Like You, Win a Date With Tad Hamilton!
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5. The Secret Hidden Agenda/Bet
Cliché: One character has a secret that they are trying to hide from the other character (usually involving some kind of hidden agenda/bet), and naturally the other one finds out about the secret, resulting in an epic tell-off. This plot is done in many different and colorful ways, but the formula stays the same: someone is hiding something detrimental that causes the relationship to implode and they break up until they are romantically reunited at the end of the film.
Popular In: She's All That, How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days, Failure to Launch, Hitch
6. The Epic Meet-Cute
Cliché: Is a rom-com really a rom-com without an epic, over-the-top and totally perfect meet-cute? These first meet-ups are almost always done in a klutzy and silly manner, leading to a romantic love-at-first-sight moment. Though they are indeed a cliché part of Hollywood filmmaking, they without a doubt create some pretty swoon-worthy and memorable scenes.
Popular In: The Wedding Planner, Notting Hill, Annie Hall, (500) Days of Summer, Maid in Manhattan
7. The Reformed Player
Cliché: A handsome and successful guy with a major phobia for serious, committed relationships finally meets "the one," usually a woman who can cure him of his playboy ways. It often features a strong and beautiful leading lady who is Mrs. Right and is able to handle all the guy's relationship panics and neuroses.
Popular In: Failure to Launch, This Means War, That Awkward Moment, What Women Want, Wedding Crashers
8. The Frenemies
Cliché: Arguably one of the most common romantic comedy formulas, the "frenemies" plot often centers on two attractive people who share a mutual attraction but refuse to acknowledge their feelings due to outside forces, differing views or opinions. They argue and bicker constantly and never see eye-to-eye, but end up giving in and admitting their true feelings for one another.
Popular In: You've Got Mail, 27 Dresses, What Happens in Vegas, Bridget Jones's Diary, 10 Things I Hate About You
9. Calling off a Wedding at the Alter
Cliché: When it comes to romantic comedies, any time at all is a totally acceptable time to profess your love to someone--even if it also happens to be their wedding day. Many times, the romantic leads express their true feelings for one another with an audience of family and friends, and end up saying see-ya to their future bride or groom in favor of the main character. Whether it's minutes before the ceremony is set to begin, or infamously at the "speak now or forever hold your peace" cue, weddings are apparently a perfect setting for romantic epiphanies and proclamations.
Popular In: The Wedding Planner, Sweet Home Alabama, Wedding Crashers, Bride Wars, 27 Dresses
10. An Epic & Romantic Kiss in the Rain
Cliché: Regardless of if they're fighting, serenading or kissing in the rain, some of the most epic movie moments take place in a dramatic downpour. Many iconic rom-coms feature a passionate kiss in the rain, often after an explosive argument or heartfelt proclamation of love. Some of the steamiest and sexiest scenes in film just so happen to be when it's pouring down rain.
Popular In: The Notebook, Four Weddings and a Funeral, Breakfast at Tiffany's, Sweet Home Alabama, Dear John
© 2019 Rachel M Johnson